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David Sanborn

David Sanborn is a Grammy-winning saxophonist, composer and arranger. A pioneer of contemporary jazz, he is also a prolific session man in pop, R&B, blues, funk, and jazz. His solos have graced records by popular artists as diverse as Stevie Wonder, David Bowie, Todd Rundgren, Bobby Charles, Roger Waters, Esther Phillips, James Brown, Ween, and over a hundred more.

As a composer and bandleader, he has, since the beginning, combined genres, making him a pioneer of crossover music and contemporary jazz. His passionate tone and emotional melodies make his playing instantly recognizable.

Sanborn was born in Tampa, Florida, but raised in Kirkwood, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis. Contracting polio at the age of three, he struggled with the disease for eight years. In its aftermath, he began to play saxophone on the advice of a doctor, who thought it would aid him in strengthening his chest muscles.

Sanborn's practice sessions became marathons. His first major influence on the alto was Hank Crawford, whose openly emotional tone he admired. The youngster made his professional debut at the age of 14 in 1959, playing with visiting Chicago bluesmen Little Milton and Albert King.

Sanborn later traveled to California and met Paul Butterfield in 1965. After relocating to the Bay Area, he joined the Butterfield Blues Band. He appeared with them at Woodstock and went on to record with them. He began a long association with Gil Evans while simultaneously playing as a session man. Some of the classic records he played on during the era include Bobby Charles' eponymous album, Stevie Wonder's Talking Book, Todd Rundgren's A Wizard, A True Star, David Bowie's Young Americans (the iconic solo on the title track is his), Tommy Bolin's Teaser, James Taylor's You Make It Easy, and Michael Franks' The Art of Tea. Over the rest of the decade, he cut two more albums and worked live and in the studio with a dizzying array of artists from Steve Forbert and Ian Hunter to Chaka Khan, the Fania All-Stars, and Bonnie Raitt.

Relocating to New York, Sanborn's first real break as a leader came with 1980's Hideaway, which hit number two on the Jazz Albums chart and number 33 on the R&B Albums chart and marked the beginning of a long association with bassist/producer Marcus Miller. It was the dawn of smooth jazz. He followed it with Voyeur a year later. The album's single, "All I Need Is You," netted him his first Grammy Award for Best R&B Instrumental Performance. The full-length was the first of four straight '80s albums to hit the top spot on the jazz charts. In 1983, he recorded As We Speak, Backstreet (with Luther Vandross as guest vocalist), and Straight to the Heart.

Interestingly, despite the rigorous demands of touring and recording that chart success demanded, Sanborn remained committed to playing on records by other artists (Billy Joel, Rickie Lee Jones, and George Benson among them). He also continued his live and recording work with Evans. 1987's A Change of Heart topped out at number three on the jazz charts.

Though he had been composing film scores since 1975 (Moment to Moment), his career in this medium took off in 1986 with Psycho III. From the late '80s to the mid-'90s he also wrote scores for Lethal Weapon 2, 3, and 4. He also became a regular guest of Paul Schaeffer's band on Late Night with David Letterman and co-hosted the television program Night Music with sidekick and pianist Jools Holland). The eclectic programs which ran in 1988 and 1989 featured guests Sonny Rollins, Marianne Faithfull, Jaco Pastorius, Sonic Youth, Taylor Dayne, John Zorn, Iggy Pop, and Sun Ra, to name a few.

In 1991 he moved over to Elektra and released Another Hand, which became his most revered album among jazz fans. Produced by Hal Willner, it featured a band consisting of Bill Frisell, Charlie Haden, Jack DeJohnette, and Marc Ribot. He followed it with Upfront, the hard-grooving, bluesy soul-jazz set that placed more emphasis on the Hammond B-3 than his saxophone and featured guest spots by William "Spaceman" Patterson and Eric Clapton. 1994's Hearsay bridged the musical gap between the two previous albums but was a funkier, larger band date overall. The decade saw him shift toward his own music more than session appearances, but he still made plenty, including dates with Dave Stewart, Oleta Adams, and Branford Marsalis' Buckshot LeFonque.

Sanborn shifted gears again for 1995's Hearsay, a collection of standards with Johnny Mandel's orchestra which revealed yet another side of the altoist. Inside, released in 1999, was another large-scope project and featured a host of vocalists including Cassandra Wilson, Sting, Lalah Hathaway, and Eric Benet. It garnered Sanborn the Grammy for Best Contemporary Jazz Performance.

Sanborn moved to Verve for 2003's Time Again, a contemporary collection of pop, R&B, and jazz standards which was notable for covers of "Cristo Redentor," "Harlem Nocturne," and "Isn't She Lovely." He followed that vein for 2005's Closer, which focused more on jazz standards with an understated electric band. He pulled out all the stops on Here & Gone, a gritty, soulful, rocking tribute to Ray Charles in 2008 with guests including Sam Moore, Derek Trucks, Eric Clapton, and Joss Stone, and released a sequel with 2010's Only Everything.

In 2013, Sanborn teamed with Bob James to co-lead on Quartette Humaine, a collection of funky contemporary jazz and more thoughtful post-bop sounds that also featured bassist James Genus and drummer Steve Gadd.

The following year he was a member of the four-person quartet that released Enjoy the View for Blue Note. His co-leaders were Bobby Hutcherson, Joey DeFrancesco, and drummer Billy Hart.

Playing regular gigs on Letterman and performing live all over the globe, the saxophonist embarked on a Pledge Music campaign to fund his 25th release. He reunited with Miller as both producer and bassist -- it was the pair's first collaboration in 15 years. The finished album featured Sanborn in a large group setting with guest vocal appearances by Randy Crawford and Tower of Power's Larry Braggs. The set was issued by Sony/Okeh in the spring of 2015 as Time & the River. ~ Thom Jurek, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

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One of my all time favorite artist the way he bends those notes his signature style of play truly amazing!!!! He closed out The Seabreeze Jazz Festival with a classic Sanborn performance on 4-25-15..... T h e night air filled with the sound of Sanborn along with his sense of humor.....
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Maputo is a great song. I think I mis-speller the title. Someone please correct me.
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very good. keep it up. very fine
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The Seduction, his best tune ever. Wish I could find sheet music for it, anyone who knows where I can get it, mail me at ff_heatseeke r @ h o t m a i l . c o m
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Could listen to David play all day

and night.....
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I remember in high school listening to him . U believable . Kept me playing my horn all these years
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Awesome
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Thank you David for your inspirationa l music! You're St. Louis` Best!!
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I made it through long all-nighters in architecture school because of DS. Have seen play him at least 20 times.
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Loved him since I was 18 in Art school. My choice to listen too while painting also. One of the true jazz legends!
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Dave rules enough said
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romancegirl1 9 6 3
He's quite handsome too. Is he married?
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How could you say anything bad. He is wonderful. He sets the standard for all who have followed
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artharrison2
This is a terrible review. Its obvious that those who can't be or aren't musicians become critics. Who decides who writes these things. Same lousy review for Maynard Ferguson. David Sanborn is a legend in the Jazz Genre and has influenced more people that I am sure Scott Yanow ever will.
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The BEST sax ever!!!!!
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Gives me chills... Love listening to his music.
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This guy has no problem reaching your spirit with his horn
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Always on time when you need a pick me up.....
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Mr. Sanborn can make that horn speak to my heart & soul! Have been a fan for apx. 30 yrs;; have seen him in different cities & here in ELP--he's THE BEST!!!
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This song really gets me up the road when I need it.
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john.passero j r
Saw Him in a small venue. The BEST, finished with My favorite The Dream.
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jazzminebree z e
David Sanborn was my introduction to Jazz back in 1984 with Hideaway and I never looked back. I adore his music it transports you to magical places. After listening to him...I went all the way Jazz...
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Don,t like is station
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This is the"Guy"!!!
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OVE me some DAVID!!! :-) :-) :-)
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Love David
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Larry Himmel' syndicated Lights out Jazz in San Diego turned me onto Dave 30 years ago. Thanks to both of you.
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I hope one day this guy could come blow for us here in Philly!!!!!
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huggiepamper 1 9 3 7
I like Chicago Song really well! Go David!
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So love Chicago Song...best of them all
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Mr. David. Sand born , ( Spooky. )
on. Sax. What. A. Groove
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simpley the best
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Kick back with good food,friends and Mr. Sanborn
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Wavy sax
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David Sanborn is my fave of all favorites!
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My absolute FAVE to this DAY has got to be Bang Bang.
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WCTK
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1365378390
Alright. Now. I. Know. It's. You. Yes
I. Got. It. Pee. Wee. It's. Sweet. Pea
Now. Don't. Forget
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Smooth and sweet sound...you can't go wrong with this one!!
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I remember riding to work jamming this cut smoking a fatty thinking I was in the islands. Smooth sailing
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donnaw6123
Saw him live three times....inc r e d i b l e !
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I love David Sanborn. I can almost always recognize him when I hear a song of his or one where he's a featured musician.
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He continues to Live The Dream ......
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THA MAN!!!!
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I simply love David Sanborn!!!!! ! !
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absolute love PoincIana.. rarely hear it unless i load my itunes and listen to Ahmad JAMAL
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When you hear that first note you know it's Sanborn his sound is like no other! i started listening to David as freshman in highschool 1980 still grooving to him.
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redoctopus47
You will be kissed on the nearest possible Friday by the love of your life. Tomorrow will be the best day ofyour life. However if you don't post this you will die in 2 days. Now you've started reading so don't stop. This is so scary. Put this on at least 5 songs in 143 minutes. When done press f6 and your lovers name will come on the screen in big letters. This is scary cause it really works
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He know's how to move u from stomping your feet to moving every part of your body!'nnn
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I love this jam!!!
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